Saturday, January 30, 2010


Snickerdoodles are always a favorite cookie. They are soft but a little crunchy, sweet but not too sweet, and so darn easy to eat more than one in a sitting. I have always added more cinnamon than the recipe states and I have ,even on occasion, added nutmeg. Today I used the amount stated in the recipe. Here is why......Vietnamese Cinnamon. This cinnamon is incredible. It is one of the strongest and sweetest cinnamons around. I went to Penzeys Spices a couple a weeks ago and went wild with all of their incredible spices. I will probably never buy spices and dried herbs from the grocery ever again!

1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon

Heat oven to 350. Cream shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and eggs. Mix flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in a sparate bowl and then slowly blend into cream mixture. Shape dough into balls and roll tops in cinnamon sugar. Place on ungreased baking pan. Bake 10 minutes or until they are set. Don't over bake or cookies will be dry.

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Dishpan Cookies

I decided to make some cookies, so I dug through some cookbooks. I found a recipe but I was not crazy about some of the ingredients, but the picture was awesome. The picture in the cookbook looked like the best cookies on the planet. Sooooo I adjusted the things I did not like and made the cookies. Well, the picture was probably faked by perfectly placing all of the chips and nuts. Well, here is my version and the chips and nuts are barried in the dough but the cookies were good! Dishpan Cookies

2 cups butter flavored shortening
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 cup oats (quick or old fashion, uncooked)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cups peanut butter chips
2 cups pecans

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease baking sheet or use parchment paper. Combine shortening and brown sugar in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

Combine flour, oats, salt, baking soda and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Gradually add dry ingredients to cream mixture. With spoon mix in chocolate and peanut butter chips, and pecans. Drop spoonfuls of dough 3 inches a part on prepared baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes or until light brown. Do not overbake. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Jarlsberg Cheese Spread

Back in November my boss setup a team building event at Woodhaven Farm where our team came together from Chicago and Columbus to do an appetizer challenge and to prepare dinner for the team. It was really nice for us to work together to make good food and enjoy each others company. Tami from Woodhaven was a lot fun and her recipes are so good! A fun fact is that most of us had never tried Jarlsberg cheese so we went wild over this cheese spread. Now, I always have Jarlsberg cheese in my fridge!

Jarlsberg cheese is a swiss cheese that does not have the bite of regular swiss. Honestly, I can't even eat regular swiss cheese because it tears up my mouth! I use the Jarlsberg on sandwiches, in casseroles, or just on crackers.

This dip is really good with Triskets, Wheat Thins and Pita Chips. The recipe below makes really good pita chips and they will not cost $3.99 for a small bag of hard little chips. Excuse the picture, the spread looks really plain, I did not have a red onion so I used a yellow onion but it was still good!

Jarlsberg and Red Onion Spread with Parmesan Pita Chips
Woodhaven Farms Recipes
2 cups grated Jarlsberg cheese
2/3 cups Mayonnaise
3 T. minced red onion
3 T. Chopped flat leaf parsley

Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with flat leaf parsley if desired.

Pita Crisps
5 Pita Breads (I used flat bread)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup shredded Parmesan

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut pita into pie shapes or squares. Place on baking sheet and drizzle olive oil over the pieces. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the pieces and bake until golden brown, about 10 - 20 minutes.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

I love looking for new recipes in blogs, magazines, websites, and cookbooks. I usually work in 2 or 3 new recipes a week. Some bomb and some are really good so they get added to my recipe binder. It is pretty rare that I follow a recipe exactly as it is written. I usually have to tweak it to my family's taste preference. My family is not a fan of the Cream of Chicken condensed soup so when I came across the recipe below, I knew I would have to make a change. The original recipe is from Sisters' Cafe. I made a couple of changes but this was really good. This one made it to my binder and it will be made again.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake
Adapted from Sisters' Cafe

2 Packages Stove Top Stuffing mix
1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 lb sliced deli ham, cut into 1 inch squares
1 cup Jarlesburg cheese, shredded (Swiss can be used)
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups cooked chicken, cubed

Prepare stuffing mixes according to directions on box. Meanwhile in a bowl, combine soup and milk. Put chicken in a greased 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle with pepper. Layer with ham, 2 cups of the cheese, soup mixture and stuffing. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of cheese on top. Cover and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes longer.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bubble and Squeak

I have heard this dish called several different names. My husband grew up in a polish family and when they had this dish, it was call Bubble and Squeak. A friend of mine would always say she was frying up cabbage and egg noodles. I always thought is sounded gross. Well, I was watching Diners, Drive Ins and Dives and this dish was made at one of those small diners. Everyone raved about the dish. I looked around on the web for the recipe and I found it called Haluski. The recipe was basically noodles, cabbage, onions, and butter. As I was cooking it, my husband remembered that bacon was always in the version he had when he was growing up.

Here is what I came up with and it is pretty good.

Haluski with Bacon
1 stick of butter
1 head of cabbage, shredded
1 large onion, diced
6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
12 oz egg noodles

Melt butter in large skillet. Add cabbage, and onion. Cook covered on medium low heat until tender. While cabbage and onions cook, boil water and cook noodles according to package.

Once cabbage and onions are soft, add noodles and bacon and cook over a medium heat. You will start to hear it "bubble" and "squeak". Cook for about 15 minutes.

The leftovers reheat beautifully.
Note: The last time I made this I used bacon bits, the "real" kind in a bottle. It turned out just as good and saved me the time and mess of cooking the bacon.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Yummy Pasta

Oh my goodness. I had this again at lunch today and it was soooo good. My sister-in-law saw this on the Giada's Everyday Italian show on FoodTV and she made it while I was at her house last week. It really does taste like a dish you would get at a restaurant.

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables
Giada De Laurentiis - Everyday Italian

2 red peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch wide strips
2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cremini mushrooms, halved
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into 1-inch strips
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon dried Italian herb mix or herbs de Provence
1 pound penne pasta
3 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)
1 cup grated fontina cheese
1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup for topping
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

On a baking sheet, toss the peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and onions with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and dried herbs. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Since you will be cooking the pasta a second time in the oven, you want to make sure the inside is still hard. Drain in a colander.

In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, cheeses, peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Using a wooden spoon, gently mix, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.

Pour the pasta into a greased 9 by 13-inch pan. Top with the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan and butter pieces. Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.

Link to original recipe


Thursday, January 14, 2010


Boy, I am trying to get back into the swing of things. I was out of town most of last week and this week is flying by! I made chicken with homemade noodles the other night but I did not take any pictures. I guess that is alright because I am not sure I can post that recipe. It is not really a recipe, it is more like guidelines to making chicken and noodles. I grew up watching my mom and grandma make noodles and I learned just by watching, so I don't have any measurements. The next time I make them I will try to write down all of the steps and some measurements. I think it is the best comfort food of all times!!

While I was out of town last week, I stayed with my sister-in-law and she made Penne with Roasted Vegetables. It was like eating at a restaurant!!! I made the dish for dinner tonight and my husband said it is a keeper. I will try to post it tomorrow, I took pictures!

Soooooo for tonight I will post a breakfast food. This is a great grab-n-go scone. I personally do not enjoy breakfast. I think maple syrup is yucky, the smell just kills me! It is a joke in my house and I get teased all the time! Unfortunately, cereal makes my stomach hurt and eggs makes me a little nauseous. So you can see, not only am I weird, but I have good reasons in my head why breakfast is not enjoyable!

I saw this recipe on Recipezaar and I thought, "Whoa, this may be right up my alley!". It is mostly bread with a little egg, bacon and cheese.

BACON, how can it be bad!

Bacon is the one breakfast food I really enjoy, it is just too bad that it has to be the most unhealthy food on the planet! Anyway, these WERE delicious and they smelled so fabulous I could hardly wait for them to cool before bit into one! These freeze well and you just pop them in the microwave for a minute or so and they are just as delicious as fresh baked.

Bacon, Egg and Cheddar Scones

I linked this to the recipe on Recipezaar. Evelyn from Athens has quite a few recipes that look great. I marked quite a few that I would like to try.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Lots of Snow and Veggie Soup

The snow keeps coming down and I don't think it will stop soon. It will quit for a couple hours but then it starts again. They say this will happen for most of this week! I am definitely not a snow girl. I get cold fairly easily and would rather not go outside to brave the weather!

I was happy that veggie soup was on my menu for this week. Vegetable soup is kind of a personal soup. You can never make it exactly the same everytime and everyone has different preferences as to what makes vegetable soup good. Some people enjoy the broth based soup with big chunks of vegables and others like to take can of vegatables, juice and all, and dump them in a pan with a little bouillon and pasta. I like a tomato base soup that is hearty and spicy with lots of vegatables and meat. My Grandma used V8 juice in her soup so I never make vegatable soup without adding a couple of cups. We also like it spicy so I added a little over a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. My husband said it could have used more, but it had a nice kick that was enjoyable.

This recipe makes plenty, we had it for dinner, I had some for lunch today, and I was able to put 2 quart size bags in the freezer! Sometimes I double the recipe and use my stock pot. The recipe below fit in my 6 qt cast iron dutch oven. It was YUMMY! I hope you like my vegatble soup version!

Vegatable Soup

2 lbs stew meat
2 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 Tbsp Worchestershire Sauce
1 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Seasoning Salt
2 tsp pepper
32 oz Beef Broth
14 oz canned Corn, drained
15 oz canned Cut Green Beans, drained
15 oz Petite Diced tomatoes (I used the ones with Green Chilis)
8 oz canned Lima Beans, drained
15 oz canned Peas and Carrots, drained
2 cups V8 Juice
2 cups potatoes, diced
Red Pepper Flakes or Hot Sauce to suit your taste, optional

In a heavy botton pan place a little olive oil, meat, Italian Seasoning, onion, celery, Worchestershire Sauce, Garlic Powder, Seasoning Salt, and pepper. Cook until onion and celery are tender and meat is browned. Add broth, canned vegatables and V8 Juice. If you choose to spice up the soup, you can add Red Pepper Flakes or Hot Sauce at this time. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer covered for about 2 - 3 hours. Add potatoes about one hour before serving.

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Friday, January 1, 2010

January Monthly Menu

I have been using a weekly menu for ages. I think it really does save money. When I go to the grocery, I pick up few items for packing lunches and then get the items I need to make my meals. I go home with a plan for everything I purchased and I put the menu of 5 or 6 meals on a chalk board in my kitchen. It is a flexible menu so I cook based on what time I get home from work or by the food items that will spoil quicker in the refrigerator.
I think the kids love this. Chelsea (20 yrs old - no longer living at home) looks at the list and determines what meal is worthy enough for the drive home. I personally love when she comes home and, if I have time, I do everything possible to make sure the meal is great. You know lots of good sides, bread, and dessert! Lauren (18 yrs old and away at college) is fun when I try new recipes because she will eat anything. She totally makes me feel like my time and effort was worthy. Baylee (13 yrs old) is very picky and eats very little of what I make. She likes pizza, goldfish crackers, pizza, mac n cheese, pizza, and subs. Did I mention she likes pizza?!

This is my menu for January. I will be traveling 8 days this month so I am sure Baylee and daddy will enjoy pizza in my absence.

Pork and Sauerkraut

Spaghetti, Salad and Garlic Bread

Vegetable Soup and Rolls

Simple Pan-Fried Pork Chops (Pioneer Woman) and Bubble and Squeak

Subs, Chips and Salsa

Seasoned Chicken, Pierogis and Corn

Noodles, Sausage, and Potatoes (Mennonitegirlscancook)

Hamburgers, Fancy Mac and Cheese (Pioneer Woman)

Chicken Cordon Bleu bake (sisterscafe) and Veggies

Stromboli and Colcannon (sisterscafe)

Pasta Pizza Bake

Pasta Alla Vodka (Pioneer Woman) and Salad

Italian Wedding Soup and 3 Cheese Rolls

Chicken Casserole with Garlic and Onion Potatoes

Sliders, French Fries and Veggie

Salisbury Steak, Baked Potato, and Green Beans

Lettuce Wraps and Fried Rice

Roast with Carrot and Potatoes, Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

Bruschetta Chicken Panini with Individual Potato Augratins (sisterscafe)

Loaded Baked Potato soup

I will be posting a few of these recipes and once I learn how to make a clean and pretty links, I will add links but for now, I noted the site name.

2010 is here!

The question of the year...... Is it two-thousand ten or twenty-ten. I am not sure how I will say it!

I have been working this morning to pack away all of my Christmas decorations. What a chore! I really do not have many decorations but trying to pack everything up in the tubs is like a giant puzzle. They have to go in just the right place for everything to fit! Well at this point everything is in the basement awaiting their choice tub! Oh yeah, there is also that struggle of getting that tree back in its original box. Last year I sat on the box while wrapping the tape around the box and prayed it would not pop as I stood up!

Last night I started working on my January monthly menu so hopefully I will have it posted later today. Well I am off to get my pork and sauerkraut cooking!